We continue today with the testimony of James Marra the Department of Justice (DOJ) employee from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) who has been qualified to put in FBI informants records as a keeper of the records (KOR) as they related to Whitey Bulger. I’ve noted there’s something that seems not on the level with the way this is being done. Usually the KOR is a person who works within the department where the records are kept and knows about the daily operations of the record keeping there. Marra never worked as an FBI agent nor has he worked in the Boston office. So when any specific questions are asked about how something was done at a certain time he can only say the rules and regulations were such and such. But if there is anything we know about the FBI, especially after Judge Wolf’s hearing, is that they don’t follow the rules and regulations. Marra’s being used so that anything that might be exposed by someone working there will not happen,
There’s also the unusual background of Marra’s involvement in this matter. The OIG is supposed to keep an eye on the agencies and its employees to ensure that they are performing their duties well and in compliance with the laws. Sometime in or after 2004 Marra was assigned by the OIG to help in the Florida prosecution of John Connolly, the FBI agent now serving 40 years in Florida for second degree murder.
Connolly had retired from the FBI in 1990, had been indicted and convicted in federal court in Boston in 2002, and was well into his second or third year in prison when Marra was assigned to do a historical review of Connolly’s actions back to 1976 to 1982 as they related to five murders. It is the only time Marra knew of when the OIG assigned one of its agents to help a prosecutor prepare a case against a person long gone from an agency. Certainly it was the only time in US history where an agent in an OIG office helped to prepare a state case, Marra was assigned to help with the Florida murder trial. He said he worked with both AUSA Fred Wyshak and the state prosecutor in Florida. Wyshak had the major role in he trial of the Florida case.
Marra was assigned to this project, he testified, by his boss in New York. He said he briefed the Inspector General and Assistant Inspector General in Washington, DC about his actions. This leads me to conclude that the highest levels of the Justice Department (Margolis?) were involved in assisting the prosecution of John Connolly in Florida for an offense which he was acquitted of by a Boston federal jury.
In 2002 the Boston jury found Connolly was not guilty of leaking information to Whitey and his cohorts that resulted in the death of John Callahan. For me this implicates a double jeopardy argument that Connolly was actually tried twice by the federal government for the same offense the second time under the guise of a state prosecution.. He was charged with participating in the murder of Callahan in Florida by leaking information,
When you see it was being directed and prepared at the highest levels of the Justice Department which is something we can infer from Marra testimony you have to think the Justice Department playing fast and loose with the US Constitution. What type of justice are we getting from a department concerned with justice when it willfully skirts a basic bedrock of American Justice.
This also explains why FBI Agent Connolly was allowed to be tried in Florida. The Justice Department usually will intervene when a federal agent is charged by a state for a crime committed while he was performing his federal duties. We have the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution that protects these officers from state prosecutions. Connolly’s job as an FBI agent was to protect his top echelon informants so they could stay on the street and continue to feed the FBI information. Here, assuming he told them that Callahan was going to be investigated by the FBI, was he doing that pursuant to the duties expected of him? These are the duties the FBI tries to hide but as we heard an FBI tell a top-level informant, “my job is to keep you safe.” The issue was never raised because the Justice Department refused to act as it normally would have done. But then again how could it act when it was doing the prosecution.
Marra’s testimony brought out some uncomfortable facts, not the least is the slap at the FBI that it is not trusted to have one of its own people as is traditionally done to interpret its own records. We’ve seen how Marra, someone outside the FBI, can escape answering questions professing ignorance. None of it has the right feel to it.
Then again, aside from the above, the issue of whether Whitey was an informant, which Marra’s testimony is designed to prove, is not an issue in the trial. It has no bearing on his guilt or innocence. But there is a reason for it being thrown in and that’s to somehow buttress the upcoming testimony of Flemmi and Weeks who the prosecutor knows will need all the support they can get.